PPYCC are proud of our past members’ achievements, some of which you can see on our Past Members web page. One such rider is Izzy Stone who was just starting another season of racing in Belgium when lockdown hit. Izzy has kindly sent PPYCC an update of how lockdown has affected her season and gives some tips for how our current riders can keep motivated and occupied during lockdown. Thanks so much to Izzy and good luck for when the season restarts!
Usually at this time of the year, I would be in Belgium racing for club team ILLI-Bikes. I would be two months into the season, winter cobwebs blown away and races coming thick and fast. I had headed to Belgium in late February and had raced 2 races, I had done my Thursday’s training ready for a double race weekend, got home and saw the news that all racing was cancelled until the end of March. As the day progressed, each country in Europe started to talk about lockdowns and closing borders. I received an email from the Rayner Foundation suggesting their riders take this opportunity to head home so no-one was ’stuck’ in a foreign country.
I came home, with the hope I would only be here for a few weeks, maybe a month… here we are 8 weeks later. At first it was a bit of kick to my confidence and excitement for the season as I had such a good winter and my form was good for the beginning of March. Lots of people were talking about how their training was going to change: if they were going to go back to winter training, taking a short break, or carry on as normal. I decided to continue my training as normal, just without the racing, I wanted to keep the structure in my daily routine as I was still riding full time. I considered starting work in a supermarket but decided personally it wouldn’t be constructive (didn’t want to chance getting ill or not being able to do that same volume of training). I wanted to be as ready as I could be for when or if racing started up and the potential of having no racing for the foreseeable future meant that I could really focus on how to get better as a bike rider.
My training has stayed fairly similar but as there is no racing to gauge my progress, my coach added in a lot more structured power testing so I was able to make sure I was moving in the right direction. I still have the odd day where I have little motivation to go out or to do a hard session with the prospect of no racing. I use these days to take the opportunity to go out for a fun or easy ride with my boyfriend (household member so no law breaking happening!). I think it is more important at this time to focus on staying happy, motivated and positive as that will help your training the most in the long run.
The reason I love riding so much is the racing, and because there isn’t any now, I’ve had to find the enjoyment of training and make it fun again which has really helped with my attitude to training and generally in getting through this tough period. I’ve also done some skills sessions that I wouldn’t usually do mid-season, simple things like riding on rollers to improve pedalling technique and riding to a car park and picking up and putting down bottles and doing skids on the grass, lots of little things that are just fun but really help to improve bike handling and technique that will help so much when racing starts again.
When I left Belgium in March I had a cold and a few Coronavirus symptoms (which turned out to be nothing and I was fine a day or two after) but I didn’t want to risk going to see my family which could then spread to my grandparents etc. I came straight home, and even though I wouldn’t normally be seeing family, or my dog most importantly, at this time of year being so close but not able to see people has made me miss it so much more. I have weekly video calls and virtual pub quizzes which have helped with not seeing anyone, and of course YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ have definitely helped with the boredom!
I’m not a massive fan of turbo riding and have never ventured into the realms of Zwift. If I ever need that little bit of motivation to get on a turbo or during a session I put on some old races on YouTube. I find watching women’s races is the best for me as it is the most relatable, seeing people I’ve raced against and even watched racing I’ve been in, granted I didn’t get any camera time unless I was out the back of the peloton… I’d definitely recommend watching some racing and something that is relatable to you, if a junior race has been recorded by a parent or streamed online, I find it’s a good way to trick yourself into feeling the pre-race adrenaline and nerves. My biggest YouTube recommendation would definitely have to be 2016 Paris-Roubaix, every time watch it I get goosebumps!
Hopefully, with the new UCI race calendar now released and a set date in mind, everything will start to fall back into place slowly! Looking forward to the first addition of Women’s Paris-Roubaix too!